TUSCALOOSA – No. 2 Alabama kicked off its annual preseason camp on a steamy Friday afternoon on the Thomas-Drew practice fields behind the Mal Moore Athletic Complex.
And as usual, there were plenty of new faces and even a couple of missing ones.
Among the newest additions to the Crimson Tide roster included Florida State graduate transfer offensive line Landon Dickerson, who wore No. 69 and was listed on the team’s roster at 6-foot-6 and 308 pounds.
During the open media viewing period, Dickerson showed good physicality while matching up with several on-again, off-again starting linemen in redshirt senior Matt Womack (6-7, 325) and redshirt junior Deonte Brown (6-4, 338). Dickerson, a redshirt junior with two years of eligibility remaining, is a prime candidate to provide quality depth along the offensive line and maybe even challenge one of the projected starting interior linemen for their job.
Also added to the roster Friday was a notable walk-on in redshirt junior receiver Drew Kobayashi, a transfer from Washington State who used to be a high school teammate of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa when the two were at St. Louis High in Hawaii. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Kobayashi has yet to record any collegiate stats having bounced around from Cal to Riverside Community College to WSU last season as a preferred walk-on.
Another roster change included redshirt freshman linebacker-turned-tight end Cameron Latu switching from No. 20 to No. 81, a more traditional tight end number after his position change became final this summer. True freshman linebacker Kevin Harris II was spotted working with the outside linebackers on Friday after practicing almost exclusively with the inside linebackers during spring practice.
Among the noticeable absences Friday included a pair of injured junior starters in tight end Miller Forristall (foot) and defensive end LaBryan Ray (ankle), both of whom reportedly underwent procedures this summer to repair their respective injuries and will be limited through the first few weeks of camp.
With Ray unavailable, true freshman defensive end Justin Eboigbe worked in his place alongside senior starting defensive end Raekwon Davis, creating what could be a rather inexperienced defensive front that could also feature fellow early enrollee freshman DJ Dale as the team’s starting nose guard.
True freshman summer enrollee Ishmael Sopsher, one of the largest players on the defense at 334 pounds, was seen standing off to the side during much of the media viewing period seemingly trying to catch his breath during his first official practice at Alabama.
Other absences were a little more telling, with former five star outside linebacker Eyabi Anoma no longer present or even listed on the team’s roster after re-entering the NCAA transfer portal last week following word that he was no longer attending university classes.
Also absent was recently transferred tight end Kedrick James, who is originally from Texas and announced a commitment to Southern Methodist (SMU) earlier in the week. Senior punter Mike Bernier, who is scheduled to graduate from the university on Saturday along with fellow senior defensive back Shyheim Carter and senior tight end Giles Amos, was also excluded from the team roster after going through spring practice.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is expected to address injuries and any recent roster turnover during a scheduled press conference Saturday morning ahead of the team’s annual Fan Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium. First-year coordinators Pete Golding (defensive) and Steve Sarkisian (offensive) are also scheduled to speak to the media for the first time since earning their new titles this winter.